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Light & Matter: The Photographic Object

Curated by Kelsey Halliday Johnson, Curatorial Fellow in Photography & New Media

February 18 – June 25, 2017
Fred Beans Gallery

Within the pervasive trends of the digital revolution, a moment arose where it seemed like images were bound to be stored as files on hard drives rather than printed and held. In the wake of this tectonic shift there has been a pressing return by artists to explore photography’s physicality. Many of the artists in Light & Matter make a crucial claim for photography’s existence in the realm of physical space that cannot be isolated to digital screens. Other contemporaries take this further, using technology like our smart phones and new virtual reality platforms that further confuse physical space, showing us how the shallow space of the screen as an object alters our sculptural perception. 

In 1970, the Museum of Modern Art challenged the then-popular notion that photographs were “taken rather than made” in the genre-expanding exhibition Photography into Sculpture. Curator Peter Bunnell highlighted artists ranging from the physicality of alternative chemical processes to three dimensional works on unusual substrates.  Since then, a heightened exploration of the final object or form the photographic image takes has become an increasingly expressive pursuit for artists, with some photographers now working primarily in sculpture and installation.

Celebrating Catherine Jansen’s groundbreaking cyanotype installation The Blue Room and works from  Photography into Sculpture artist Bea Nettles from the Michener Art Museum collection, this exhibit surveys regional contemporaries continuing to diversify the forms photography now embodies.

Exhibiting Artists:


Berenice Abbott
Micah Danges
Bryan Graf
Sabrina Gschwandtner
Nancy Hellebrand
Catherine Jansen
Diane Levell
Howard Lewis
Christopher Manzione
Eileen Neff
Bea Nettles
Robert Rauschenberg
Charles Sheeler
Dan Talley
Judith Taylor
Letha Wilson
Mauro Zamora

A catalogue will accompany the exhibition.

Light & Matter: The Photographic Object is supported by the Photography Patrons Circle of the James A. Michener Art Museum.

 The publication is generously supported by Aaron Rudolph.

Download the accompanying Dark Matter app developed by Christopher Manzione from

Google Play

or

iTunes app store

Image: Catherine Jansen, The Blue Room, 1970/73, photosensitized cloth, photographic dyes, James A Michener Art Museum, Museum purchase and partial gift from the artist.

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